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Wednesday 17 January 2024

Guess what happens when you mix sport, politics and money?

Mix politics, sport and money and the result is unlikely to be a good one.

The International Olympic Committee this week named international beverage giant AB InBev as a worldwide partner until 2028, following news that Asahi had pulled out of its Paris sponsorship deal due to Russia’s presence at the 2024 Games.

Multinational brewer AB InBev, full name Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV and the largest brewer in the world, revealed that its alcohol-free Corona Cero will be the official beer of the Olympics through the Olympic and Paralympic Games LA 2028.

The company's brands include Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois.

The deal means poor sports lovers are going to lumbered with an no-alcohol beer.

The agreement also includes marketing rights for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the Paralympic Games through the IOC-IPC long-term collaboration agreement, website The Drinks Business reported.

Asahi announced last month that it would be pulling its sponsorship of the Paris Games.

Asahi brand Pilsner Urquell, which is also the official partner of the Czech Olympic Committee, withdrew from all communications and sponsorship material related to the 2024 Olympics, reportedly due to the IOC deciding to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in the event.

Asahi released a statement saying “Pilsner Urquell does not want to support the Olympic Games in Paris under current conditions. It will send money to Czech athletes”.

AB Inbev CEO Michel Doukeris said: “Beer is the beverage of moderation and choice, and so it’s fitting to lead with Corona Cero, for this occasion.”

Moderation and choice? Mr Doukeris is clearly a master of spin and bulldust.

French law prohibits the sale or distribution of alcohol in stadiums, and the organisers of the Paris Olympics have not applied for an exemption. Alcoholic drinks can, however, be served in VIP areas.

How very IOC. One rule for the plebs, one rule for sponsors and high flyers.

# The writer has been known to drink beer and is a former consultant to the IOC   

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